The World Bank Group board of directors have approved $50 million(Sh5.3 billion) in immediate funding to support Kenya’s response to the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
This is under a new operation – the Kenya COVID -19 Emergency Response Project.
The project will provide emergency funding for medical diagnostic services, surveillance and response, capacity building, quarantine, isolation and treatment centres.
The funds will also go into medical waste disposal, risk communications and community engagement as well as for strengthening of the country’s capacity to provide safe blood services.
“This new fast track facility will assist Kenya in its efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness,” Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Country Director for Kenya said.
“COVID-19 threatens lives and livelihoods, and a rapid response is needed for food security, nutrition, and schooling.”
The project will be implemented in all 47 counties. The primary beneficiaries will be the infected persons, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel, medical and testing facilities, and national health agencies.
“Blood is core to all clinical aspects of health systems. $10 million of this funding will go towards strengthening the capacity of the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service to provide safe blood and blood products,” said Jane Chuma, Senior Health Economist and Task Team Leader.
“This is important especially this time when supply will drop because the would-be blood donors are less likely to go out to donate,” Chuma added.
This funding is the first in a series of support the World Bank is providing to Kenya in response to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.
In addition, $10 million(Sh1.1 billion) was triggered under the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the Transforming Health Systems for Universal Care Project, to fund the National COVID-19 Contingency Plan.
The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion(Sh1.48 trillion) fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.
The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The International Finance Corporation is providing $8 billion (Sh846 billion) in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association is making an initial $6 billion(Sh634.5billion) available for the health-response.
As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion (Sh16.9 trillion) over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.